Archive for the Heathrow Project Category

No Third Runway

Posted in Heathrow Project with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by brettvanort
howard

Howard Robinson mans his storefront at Collector's Car Parts.

Here are some of the shots I think are the best from Heathrow.  Trying to cull together around 15 prints in the darkroom for presentation.  I’ve settled on 16″x 20″ fiber based paper.  In all, I have about 70 negatives to choose from.  From that I probably have about 30 different setups.  Many times I would make two exposures from a setup.  Sometimes I would make only one and very rarely, I think only twice, would I make more than one exposure.

An aerial view from the 10th floor of the Holiday Inn near Sipson.

An aerial view from the 10th floor of the Holiday Inn near Sipson.

This is one of the instances I took several exposures.  Unfortunately I was not happy with any of the results.  Being confined to shooting behind the double glazed windows of the hotel made for smudges, smears, dirt, warping and distortion to take place with these images.  It shows especially when blown up to the 16×20.  You can see the distortion and exposure falloff in the right side of frame.  Too bad it didn’t really work out because the view shows Heathrow to the south and Sipson and its houses just in the foreground.

NoTRAG members (L to R) Geraldine Nicholson, Audry Holdsworth, Christine Shilling, Christine Taylor and Linda McCutcheon.

NoTRAG members (L to R) Geraldine Nicholson, Audry Holdsworth, Christine Shilling, Christine Taylor and Linda McCutcheon.

Another instance where I took several exposures.  I wanted to make sure I got several tries at this.  I was restricted to picking one shot due to the time constraints of using the 5×4 with the members of NoTRAG.  The organization has done an amazing job fighting the airport’s expansion.  So I felt having all the women involved was a necessity.  I wanted to use the sign as a frame line and the houses to be the backdrop.  I still really don’t know how I feel about the outcome of the photo in general though.

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Sipson 5×4 shots

Posted in Heathrow Project on April 18, 2009 by brettvanort

I developed almost 60 5×4 negatives over the past two days.  The majority of my easter project had to wait to be realized.  I spent most of yesterday scanning them in.  Next week I will start making 16″x20″fiber based prints in the darkroom.  It’s a lot to do in such little time but I hope I am able to get everything done.  Here are the first few images that I like or think that are worthy to be included in the final product.

John Irving stands in front of his 1950s era tractor and his workshop.

John Irving stands in front of his 1950s era tractor and his workshop.

I believe I have another photograph of Mr. Irving from the portrait assignment.  I went back with my 5×4 and snapped a few of him in front of his pride and joy (aside from his family and horse Millie of course) his 1950s era tractor that he rebuilt.  Mr. Irving bought a large parcel of land (about four acres) several years ago in Sipson realizing that the local residents opposed the previous owner from building a house on it.  John calls the land his oasis in the city.  A place for him to relax and fix up old and disused farm equipment.  I felt totally at ease whenever I photographed him and talked to him.  Reminded me of one of my uncles from Murfreesboro really.

A.E. in the cemetery.

A.E. in the cemetery.

Another photo of A.E. or Albert in the cemetery again.  This one and Mr. Irving are two of my favorites as I used the surroundings to emphasize where they were but in shifting the focus I also emphasized them as well by making them the sharp point of the photo.  The prints of these two and really nice.  I can’t say enough about how work looks in person against on a computer.  I’ll post more in the coming days.

Section 44 Stop

Posted in Heathrow Project with tags , , , , , on April 12, 2009 by brettvanort

While I have been in Sipson the last couple months or so I managed to get stopped four times by the police while photographing.  Two time the stops were officers asking me what I was doing.  When I replied, “I’m a photographer.  I’m taking photographs,” the officers let me be and went on their way.  Two other times I was not so fortunate as I was stopped under the dreaded Section 44.

Being from the States I had no idea what Section 44 was compared to Section 43 or 45.  After my first stop some villagers complained on my behalf to the police and the head inspector of Hillingdon borough wrote back to them and me, saying that I need not worry about being stopped again.  He stated that it was not a requirement of mine to submit my details to the officers.  He states that those particular officers would be made to understand law enforcements limitations under a Section 44 stop.

Unfortunately only three weeks after that stop I was stopped yet again.  What follows was my formal complaint to the authorities at Hillingdon Borough:

I would like to lodge a formal complaint about the conduct of police in the area of Sipson, West Drayton. I am a photographer pursuing my Masters degree at the London College of Communication.  As a basis of my mid-term project I opted to photograph the village of Sipson, its inhabitants, and their way of life that is under threat from the governments proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport.  

I have been in the village on many occasions up to three times a week photographing and meeting people.  On a previous occasion I was stopped on February 28, 2009 for a Section 44 stop.  I divulged all of my details and regret that I did so as I have been told by numerous people I do not actually have to do so by law.  When the chief inspector was subsequently pressed on my stop, he apologized and said that I need not worry about it happening again. In the following weeks I have met even more of your police force.  Some meetings have been very brief as they have asked what I have been up to and they have moved on their way.  Other meetings have been protracted, dubious and disconcerting.  I endured one of the latter yesterday at the intersection of Harmondsworth Land and Sipson Road.

At approximately 5:15 PM I had set up my camera to photograph the side of a house and a road sign that proclaimed Sipson Road intersecting said house.  As I waited for a pedestrian to pass through frame, in order to give the photograph a sense of scale, a police van parked in the middle of my shot and the traffic circle at said intersection. The van license plate number was LX54 JCO.  The officers, 776 XH, 453 XH, 910 XH, (there was in fact another officer, making the total four,  in the van whose number I was not given)  came out of the vehicle and approached me and asked what it was I was doing.  I proclaimed that I was taking photographs.  I was asked for what purpose am I taking photographs.  I said that I am a photographer and I am doing my job.  I was then pressed as to what I was taking photographs of exactly.  I told the officers that I am working on a project documenting the village.  

At that I was told that the officers needed my details per Section 44.  Because of my proximity to the airport (1.5 miles away) I was told it was a sensitive area and they had to stop all photographers in the area.  When I replied that I would not divulge my details, that I had done it before, read that it was not required and apologized to for the nature of my previous Section 44 stop, I was told that I was liable for arrest if I continued to withhold my details. At this the encounter took quite a turn.  I, being what I consider an upstanding citizen whom abides by all laws, do not take well to being threatened with arrest.  I find it very disturbing, especially when I am only plying my trade without endangering myself or others.  Considering my options, I asked for the officers details.  I said that if I were to divulge my details I must have all of theirs.  I was told by one of the officers, “It does not work that way, sir.”  I replied, “Yes, yes it does.  If you really want my details then I require that I must have yours.”

At this, one of the other officers wrote down their numbers on a piece of paper and I handed over my California Drivers License.  At this time, there was a large group of patrons from the King William IV pub that made their way outside to witness the goings on.  When a couple of them took pictures of the officers questioning me on their mobile phones, they were told that was an arrest-able offense as well.  At this point it seemed the police would need another van for all of the arrests they were about to make!

I asked the officers how I could prevent these stops from happening as they interrupt my shooting and delay my day by about 20-30 minutes.  They said that I could call into a branch headquarters every day that I wish to shoot in Sipson and let them know there that I will be shooting and then I would not be bothered.  I find this rather amusing as they would still stop and interrupt my day if only to corroborate my story with said headquarters.

When I received my drivers license back,  I went on to our next location to shoot.  That was when Linda McCutcheon questioned the police of their motives.  I stopped and listened to their conversation.  Linda said that she was a member of the Safer Neighborhoods Team and that their actions were counter intuitive to what they should be doing to protect the village.  As they got into their van to drive off, one of the officers proclaimed, “If you ever need a police officer don’t call me.”

I found this final, boorish comment to be obnoxious, arrogant and shocking, especially to an upstanding member of the community like Linda McCutcheon for more than 40 years.I was not afforded any opportunity to be a law abiding citizen from the outset of the encounter.  I was treated like a suspect from the word go and this I find to be detestable.

If you could please get back to me about the outcome of this I would appreciate it.  I would also appreciate being allowed to do my work in the village without interruption from now on.  If this is not possible I would like to know what action I can take to make it so.

Regards

Brett Van Ort

Adopt A Resident

Posted in Heathrow Project on April 3, 2009 by brettvanort

 

Young activists were paired with local residents to form a coalition to fight airport expansion.

Young activists were paired with local residents to form a coalition to fight airport expansion.

I went to Adopt a Resident day a few days ago at the church in Harmondsworth, the village next to Sipson.  The function brought activists from Plane Stupid, Greenpeace and other organizations together with local residents from the surrounding Heathrow villages.  The idea is simple.  Have the activists not only be a voice for residents but also show the residents how to fight against airport expansion.  Since many of the local residents have been fighting the runway for almost a decade, some have grown tired of railing against it.  Hopefully this will reinvigorate the passion for those that it may have waned.

The Great Barn.  It is pretty grand.

The Great Barn. It is pretty grand.

After the meeting and “adoption” took place, we all had a chance to view the Great Barn in Harmondsworth.  The barn dates from the mid-1400s.  It’s inside is amazing.  Cathedral-like in its presence, it was awe-inspiring to be inside.  The barn was built without the aid of nails screws or any hardware that is used in today’s construction.  From building my own kitchen table back in LA with tongue and groove method and no nails, I had my own special fondness for the place.  It took me around 3 months to make my table.  Consider how long it would have taken to construct this barn using the same methods.  Amazing.  And to think there will be junbo jets flying straight overhead if BAA and the government has it’s way.  I tend to think the barn won’t last another 500 years if there are 747s rumbling overhead.

Cherry Lane Cemetery

Posted in Heathrow Project with tags , , , on March 30, 2009 by brettvanort

 

If a proposed spur road is built so BAA can access the Third Runway to it's hangers directly to the North, all of these bodies will be exhumed.

If a proposed spur road is built so BAA can access the Third Runway to it's hangers directly to the North, all of these bodies will be exhumed.

I met Albert Thurling at the Cherry Lane Cemetery.  This cemetery is just down the road from Sipson.  Many who lived in the area are buried there.  This is the only cemetery in the Borough.  I, myself, find this to be the hardest story to believe with the possibility of airport expansion.  There are thousands buried in the cemetery, from Christians to Jews to Muslim.  Where do all of these exhumed bodies go?  How is this decent?  Why is this even an option?

Albert's wife and father are buried in the cemetery.  He visits them both regularly.

Albert's wife and father are buried in the cemetery. He visits them both regularly.

Albert lives just to the north of Sipson.  His home is not threatened but his wife and father’s final resting place are.  Even at the age of 79, Albert says that he will fight airport expansion as much as he can, if not for his loved ones buried in the cemetery but also for all those he doesn’t know that are buried there as well.

Collectors Car Parts

Posted in Heathrow Project with tags , , , , , , , on March 26, 2009 by brettvanort

Collectors Car PartsJust North of the Bath Road that runs along the northern fringe of Heathrow is Collector’s Car Parts.  Howard Robinson has owned and operated this second hand car parts store for over 25 years.  He lives to the west of the airport, his house is not in danger, but his store is.

Howard spends the better part of the day on the phone trying to fill orders for old car parts from owners of vintage and antique cars.

Howard spends the better part of the day on the phone trying to fill orders for old car parts from owners of vintage and antique cars.

He has car parts ranging as far back as 1907.  He only deals with cars made in the UK and claims to have the largest inventory of any car part dealer in the UK.  His inventory looks cramped and crowded and a mismash of shapes, sizes and makes.  But he has it all organized he says.

Howard grabs a part for a caller from his vast inventory. 

A shelf of knowledge.

A shelf of knowledge.

Got a fiver?  Grab any hose you like!

Got a fiver? Grab any hose you like!

Howard grabs a part for a caller from his vast inventory.

Easter Break

Posted in Heathrow Project on March 20, 2009 by brettvanort

Our break for Easter started today.  I’m continuing with my project on Sipson.  I showed up early (6am) at the store and reserved a Cambio 5×4 for the entire break.  But, I’ve become somewhat uneasy about the lab facilities not being open while we are away on break.  This will restrict me from doing any developing of film while we are away.  Since my project is pretty much solely based on film and 5×4 film at that, which isn’t easy to develop, I’ve decided to supplement my shooting with digital proofs and snaps here and there.  Anything you will be viewing from now until the end of break (April 14) will be on my Canon 5d and not necessarily representative of what the end product will look like.

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